Minister Plato: Mthethwa's Take on the Bill is Disappointing and Strange
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
The statement released by the National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, on his opposition to the Western Cape Community Safety Bill is both disappointing and strange.
He maintains it is unconstitutional: The Constitution was carefully considered during the drafting of our Bill and we are confident that it is in line with both constitutional and legal principles. That is why it is so disappointing that the minister is opposing this attempt to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the police in the Western Cape. We are setting out to improve safety in our communities, not through taking any powers away from SAPS but through improving our own oversight mechanisms to serve as a catalyst for better policing, as outlined in the Constitution. Surely measures to make our communities safer should be supported, debated and introduced - not brushed aside before any meaningful engagement has taken place.
To date, the minister has not provided me or my department with any detailed comment and so I find it strange for him to be making his position known via the media. I couriered copies of the Bill to the minister on the day it was published on 16 February this year. I allowed more than double the usual public participation timeframe, and yet South African Police Service failed to provide any comment before the deadline on 15 May. Instead they have waited until two weeks after the closing date to raise their opposition, and only after I had sent a second letter to urge the minister to comment as we value the police's contribution. I also raised this matter with the Provincial Commissioner, who informed me that national SAPS would be submitting input. We note that the Civilian Secretariat for Police will be providing us with their comments and inputs and we will study these carefully once received.
I am determined to implement this Bill in the Western Cape because I am confident of how it will make this province safer for the people this government serves. Minister Mthethwa would do well to give it a reread; the people deserve no less.
(In terms of public feedback on the Bill - we received 13 formal submissions, totalling about 350 pages.)
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499